Self-Fulfilling Scripture

Rensselaer is the City of Lost Souls, which is not a wistful turn of phrase, but the truth that no one tells. You only have to walk down any street and listen to the desperate howl of this city. Their meager whimpering creates the Howl. It’s a right of passage that within this city, your heart makes a noise that is so desperate and deafening that it has gone silent. It’s hardly recognizable over the sounds of the train.

Their cries are silent. Between the train tracks and the river it’s the clutter of noise that keeps us from calling out to anyone that can help. The sound remains silent, although it’s there, trapped between the deafening cries of the train and the delicate flow of the river. For that, who would rather listen to the cries of thousands of disenfranchised souls. Albany is Tartarus of Greek Lore. It’s a city of grey, where lost souls wander without a purpose. We wander aimlessly along these streets, going in circles.  Every day is the same, bringing no challenge to our spiritual evolution. The day remains the same and so do we, without growth, we rot and disappear.

Lost souls are the only ones worth fighting for, just like lost causes. We see no end in sight. We must be shown. Even still, the souls will refuse, for they’ve grown stubborn and afraid of change. If we’re shown heaven, we’ll convince ourselves that it’s really hell. It’s a matter of some form of ‘mental gymnastics’ that we convince ourselves that nothing can get better. It’s this more than anything that makes us lost souls. It’s this philosophy more than death that makes us lost. We refuse entry into the gilded gates of heaven and we refuse sleep.

There is no center, yet we revolve around something. If you can pinpoint the source, perhaps you can find something to separate us and send us flying free off into space. The souls are caught between the two beams, one being the train and the other being the river. The souls cling to the river in hopes that the ferryman, Ishinigal, will grant them free passage to the underworld. Ishinigal doesn’t stop, unless they have the glorious ‘Coin of All-Father’, which is granted to one who truly deserves to see the wonders that wait beyond this eternity. No, their fate is to return. Eternal Return.They get frustrated and wave their fists at the ferryman, wondering why there seems to be no other alternative for them besides this suffering. They turn on each other, tossing their coins at the river, throwing fists, fighting, clawing, drowning. An unprecedented atavism prevails in a city with an overabundance of souls with life as a lost cause.

The river by our side seems to call to them, yet when they come it speaks not a word. This makes them bitter. They turn on the living, as well as themselves. Angered souls are known to chew on the living. It amplifies our frustration with life. Frustrated spirits do this because they want to bring you down with them; they want others to feel just like them. You try to rise above it, but when you look in one direction you hear the train and in the other you hear the river. In between, you hear the cries. Their amplified by the reverberations on either side. You’re trapped and forced to listen to their bitching. After a decade or so, you start to complain. After a little longer, you understand. It’s in this way that the cycle is secured and propagates its rotten philosophy into the future, thus the self-fulfilling prophecy is protected.

Pooping in the Fitting Rooms

Fun story time, starting with a fact I love sharing with everyone. Retail is the bane of my existence. I suffered through it for a long time and still see it as a terrible thing. I feel a tremble coming from my heart and receding through my limps whenever I walk into a store. My hatred knows no bounds.

Anyway, I promised a fun story and I’m not one to break a promise. On two separate occasions in our story somebody pooped in the fitting rooms Once, it happened when I’d first started at this store. A person piled up some clothes and just… you get the point. They asked everyone to clean it up, but we all refused. In the end, one of the managers had to do it. It didn’t affect me to have him do it. I liked the fact that he was made to, actually reveling in his suffering. For that time, sure, I became a sadist, but he made at least five times what I did. If anyone was going to clean up poop, why not him?

Second account of the ‘Serial Shitter’: it was a cold, blustery night. No… actually, what’s weird is on both accounts it happened around summer… hmmm. The person just pooped on one of the benches in the fitting room. They just pooped! What kind of weirdo does that sort of thing… and, if you’re the weirdo, please identify yourself!

We never found either attacker, but I think it’s the same person. These occurrences are separated by ten years, so the person is patient. He could’ve gone to any store, but he came to mine… maybe he’s from out of town and goes around pooping in local businesses. Maybe he’s a close friend. The ‘Serial Shitter’ is out there. He could be anyone and anywhere…. he could even be writing this story!

Tree of Penance

Forsaken, my flesh soaked in sin, I took a worn path that led me away from the world. I felt poisonous, no good to anyone. I deserted the world, as I felt it’d done to me. Reassuring myself that this was all a dream, I climbed over brush and pulled both thorn and weed from my being. The pain felt all too real, but I maintained the illusion. This had to be a dream. This could not be my life. This had to be a painful nightmare, something to shock me back to a lush reality full of happiness and bliss. The trees and brush cleared and I saw only grass for miles. I walked along the earth, with the wind to guide me, whispering over the empty field. Black clouds warned of impending doom.

Lo, I saw a tree standing alone in the distance. I came to it and saw ‘Tree of penance’ carved crooked through the bark. I rub my hand against the carving, rough lines etched into the wood; they illuminated crimson with my touch. The tree came apart before my eyes, suspended before me, extending its being to encompass my pain. The tree wrapped itself around me, covering my massive form to squeeze me inside. This is my penance. I look out unto the world, belonging to this tree, my only sanctuary. The world would be protected from me.

From this point, I became master of the universe. I saw everything and was within everything; for what I saw, the world knew that I was watching over them. They felt my touch within their lives. We were one, for this moment in time. I felt at peace with the cosmos and the world that made me this evil creature.

All that could ruin it was the divine fates. They ruin everything. A girl came creeping into this world, with a little red hood and a picnic basket, on her way to grandma’s house, no doubt. I had the memory, a thought that this could only be a dream. She came and knock on the tree and I refuse to answer. She entered anyway. I ran as fast as I could within the tree. Its bounds were unfathomable. Its dark recesses expanded beyond sight, beyond reason. She came, whispering her mantra that echoed within the dark world. “What big eyes… what big teeth?” I cried out for her to leave. I demanded it. The world let it be shown. This was my sin.

Splayed innards. Flesh and form sawed off from self. This is my sin. Another bloody demonstration of my purpose. Tree of penance could no longer protect me. It was time to move on.

A Pocky Lips

Sorry, I get inspired by weird things and have to write. It’s not exactly about my town, but just… feels right.

Today, I would like to take the time I have and consider how the end of this city would look. We can speculate all we want, because this is a gift for those that survive. We can say everything ends, because we don’t know what comes next. It can’t be a constant progression into time, because we’re not the ones who progress. Time goes on and on… we don’t. It has to end. There’s something and then there’s nothing. I’d love a philosophical debate, but in order for that to happen you have to have a belief. People act like you have to be smart to consider a philosophical discussion. That’s bullshit. Just open your mind. I accept that I don’t know a damn thing. I don’t know what happens after you die. What I know is that this is ‘something‘, which we call life. It could go on forever, but things have a way of ending, even as those around them continue. Everything passes. It’s a confusing thought to think that the world will move on without us. It seems to defy some basic law of physics, but there it is. History is proof that we are wrong. It’s passed on from great men like Albert Einstein and George Washington… why not a simple blogger?

I predict, for this city to end with a great and unremitting flood. It will have to be flood, because the river is a convenient tool I have for this prediction. The flood will have to be so rampant as to deter workers from making sense of any effort in cleaning up. The damage will have to be so severe as to wipe us off the map. We’ll become like Atlantis, submerged beyond salvation. They’ll see our monuments and shops buried under water, rotting steadily into the sea. Our bodies will float to the top and be pushed out into the oceans for lesser scavengers and carnivores to poke at for a while. Imagine if that wave recedes and pulls us out into the ocean. Imagine what force it would take to suck us out, to pull everything with it, to make our fair city disappear. Such a wave would have to be devastating. We’d have to get the equivalent of a years worth or rain from the Amazon to wipe us off so easily!

I imagine the Rensselear Rail Station nearly entirely submerged, with just the oval clock-tower at the top sticking out. Imagine the world we’ll leave behind. Imagine the force of the ocean to drag us out, scraping the land away, like a child’s fingers digging through sand. What purpose? Why would it hunger so much to see us dead? Who knows… maybe the ocean will reach such a volatile point of desalinization to no longer be able to control its urges. It’s all part of a natural cycle. The world does whatever it takes to destabilize itself. Better to lose one city that nobody knows instead of the world. In that respect, I think we can accept the sacrifice. It’s bitter, certainly, but I can’t think of being selfish and letting the world die, just for us.

That’s my prediction… I have no time table. I’d like to see it in my time, but who has a say in such a thing? We’d be like a modern day Pompeii, with the world wondering how things could go so wrong? Maybe they’d take a look at the cataclysm and realize they have to make a change. They’d preserve our fair city as a sanctuary to nature. It would become overgrown, like the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Animals, besides humans, would thrive, as well as beautiful vegetation, moss, trees, insects, wild beasts of myth and legend. In our darkest hour, life reasserts itself. It doesn’t take the form you want, but the form you need. We can only hope that it reveals itself and for us, we come to accept the expression on its face.

Lights go down on South Street

People don’t bother with you on this street. You get your ‘hellos’ and go about your day. It can be quiet in the way of social chatter, but more than makes up for it in traffic. We have a road right outside our doorway. Eighteen wheelers drive by and it sounds like a tank barreling through the city. In my backyard, as well as on the other side of the white chain-link fence, are two train tracks. The train runs and makes a lot of noise, although I hardly notice the one going through my backyard. Further passed the train tracks, someone revs his engine all night long, either performing testing on his automobiles or trying to piss off the rest of us. He does a fine job of both, either way.

There isn’t much to see here, unless you enjoy watching traffic, either from cars or trains on their way to distant worlds. You can see the skyline of Albany from your porch, although you’re looking through electrical lines. If you look above all that mess, at least on this night, you see blue clouds shifting to purple. They move along, like the traffic. I see them coming in darker and darker. I see purple clouds just over the horizon. This city exemplifies the phrase ‘life passing you by’. All the clamor of engines, tires against pavement, steel dragging heavy locomotives to distant worlds that most of us will never see. We remain. We live in the city where everything passes and nothing stays.

I’m writing about this night, because of the storm. It brought on something I’ve never seen. It was a beautiful sight that can only come from reverence of that natural force that guides everything in the universe. Call it what you want, but it works better without a label. On this night this most benevolent forced called the bugs to dance around the streetlights and perform ritual sacrifices. I’ve only seen a few Praying Mantises in my life. I’ve always thought they were cool looking and had to study them for a while whenever they crossed my path. For whatever reason, there have been dozens of these things all around our city. They came out of nowhere and flooded our streets. They flew around and you couldn’t tell what the massive blobs of green were, until they landed on your car or dangled from a tree.

Along the stretch of white fence, the streetlights shine just as bright as any other road, but something has happened to two of them that makes them shut off for about thirty seconds to a minute. The two at the far sides, one to the North and the other to the South, always remain on. It’s the two in the middle that take turns shutting down. It happens in succession, where one will go out and then another.

In the height of the Praying Mantises growth, the creatures would fly around these brilliant orbs of light, as if they represented some celestial force that moved everything into place. When one light went out they’d go to another and so on and so forth. Beetles and other bugs joined in, although some were made into ritual sacrifices. Others, the mantises allowed to dance in honor of the brilliant light, at least for the time. The bugs cannibalized each other. Mantises ate beetles, beetles ate anything smaller, anything smaller drank the blood of my neighbors. It’s one great big cycle that, no matter who we are, we’re a part of.

Everyone’s enjoying the festival of carnal pleasure, until, in one perfect flux, the light goes out for the entire street. It’s not something terribly significant to any of us, but to the praying mantises and for me, it became an ordeal worth further documentation. It took a keen eye to see what happened to all those bugs floating around that radiant essence. They scattered so fast it was hard to tell that they were still there. The light still burned in my eyes. I could see the little black dots against the backdrop of darkness. It might’ve been just an illusion, but it seemed the bugs were trying to remain as still as possible. They scattered and fled in terror. The festival was over and the time to hide from predators was upon them. Trees stood beneath the lights in great bushels. They could fall into the canopies and get lost, hopefully, to avoid any danger. If they made it in time they could wait out the storm and pray for the light to return.

The storm came in with rain and long, white bursts of lightning. They felt so close and hit with such a loud impact that the power went out. Everything went dark. My neighborhood was forced to watch the sacred display. Whatever force it is that guides us in this world, it wanted us to see. Darkness washed over the land. It took with it all forms of life. In that moment, the world was dead. The coffin closed. We breathed into the dirt and darkness ate the remains. You don’t realize what you make of yourself when you’re lights are always on. You become a target. When you’re out in the darkness is when you’re free. It represents something in our psyche, something primordial, something we fear. I think it’s more that ‘return to darkness’ that we fear. Humanity’s come along way from hunting for survival. The light is something we own now, instead of it owning us. It’s become our greatest mission. Humanity is responsible for protecting the light.

When order restored, as it always does, the bugs rejoiced. The mantises returned, dancing around the light. They ate each other, they performed ritualistic orgies of blood and sexuality for which humanity could never understand. That part of us died with the dinosaurs. Such desperation is animal. Something we’ve forgotten. If only the lights would go out. Every light, every television, every bit of energy that fuels this world. Let it go out for a few seconds. Let us sit in darkness for a few seconds and wonder what became of the world we knew only a moment ago. Then, perhaps, we can relate.

Pompeii – 2016 A.D.


Hudson River, Albany, NY.

I’m only sharing this, because I’m fascinated.


If anyone knows more about things like this happening in our time or closer, please don’t be afraid to share. It talks about a cloud of CO2 that comes up from a lake and kills 1,746 people. There were myths about the lake that spoke of a great evil that claimed many lives. I like that. I’m warped, but I like that. I’ve imagined the same type of scenario for my city. I’m not a prophet, don’t think I have those allusions of grandeur. I see the possibility of us being erased from the planet. I mean… with the world always seeming to balance itself on the precipice of order and chaos, who wouldn’t try to predict our end?

I see our city ending in flood. There are cricks that extend around us, through us, which all matters because of the river. One day, it’ll come through flood. Depressing, but these things happen. This has been fun… not depressing at all. I just enjoy sharing with you all!

Wild Ogre Nether Regions


An ogre drawing from WOW… not actual footage of ‘Wild Bill’.

“…and then, one day you find ten years have got behind you

no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…”

-Pink Floyd (Time)

Many a man makes himself into an ogre. Many a man is made into an ogre. Wild Bill followed the whims of every want and desire. He was a massive creature. He couldn’t be denied even if a person wanted. He couldn’t be put in his place. He could steal, bully and pillage all he wanted. He could eat and seemingly never be filled. His body was a landmine of desires, a vast pit that never became full. Wild Bill took all he could from life, until life finally stole some things from him. It chipped away at his youth. With that, his health followed. It always seems like a freak occurrence, when time stops you, when you have so much momentum you feel like you can go on forever. Wild Bill, set in his ogre ways, after many years, finally had to slow down.

I first met Wild Bill while walking through my city as a boy many years ago. He wore a pair of blue jean shorts and nothing else. He walked out of his front door with an angry, defensive look on his face, as I and a friend walked by. We’d done nothing to offend, but the Wild Ogres are so easily startled and often eager to fight. He’d look for any reason. it was important for my friend and I to maintain a safe distance, while keeping our eyes down. Wild Bill continued to stare. We could feel his hungry gaze. We waited for the words, ‘Fee, fie, foe, fum,’ to erupt from the ogre’s mighty belly, but that never happened. He just kept staring. He had a round stomach that hung out several inches from the rest of his lengthy body, which made it awkward to categorize, since he didn’t technically seem fat. Even after we were half a block away, the mighty ogre prepared as if to defend his hovel. My friend finally broke and had to look back. The ogre roared and we ran for our lives. That was many years ago.

The other time I came across the powerful ogre was when he was drunk at a local watering hole. I was much older by this point and he saw me not as a threat, but close enough to be… not a friend, but more a friendly acquaintance. He pulled me in for a rough hug. He had at least a foot on me and probably around a hundred pounds. I could feel his rounded gut, hard, pressing against me. He downed a mug of something, as if it were water, before slamming his palm against the counter for more. The table rattled under his weight, such a powerful creature. In no time at all, the ogre’s anger got the best of him. He ended up fighting someone out in the parking lot, being pulled away by three men, no less, before walking home alone. His anger, as it goes with most ogres, is the dominant emotion and always got the better of him.

Rage defined him. It could’ve been joy, although that emotion took many more years to set inside his heart. It started with a simple ‘hello’ and a wave from his porch. It ended with him running out in the middle of the street for me. It took everything for me to fight the urge to flee. He stopped me and put his hand on my shoulder. He knew me or remembered me somehow. We talked a little about things I knew nothing about. He wanted to talk some about himself and I didn’t mind. He was manifesting a friendlier nature and, although I found it surprising, I was in awe and had to respect it. When we both got older, me and Wild Bill, it was like we were both learning more about him. He was seeing himself in a different light, one never exposed in his volatile childhood days. He talked most of the time. I never got a word in anyway, but never wanted to interrupt him His stream of consciousness I found fascinating. He was digging for something and uprooting wisdoms inside himself that he thought ancestral, sacred, ineluctable. He couldn’t touch them, until now. I was uncovering buried treasures in his memory.

For years, his personality worked in a limited sense, which made him an outsider. He could be friendly around other ogres, but to others he made remarks that offended and bruised. He always said such things as jokes, although they were often personal. He could be boorish and rude. He was crass, vulgar. He was a slob. Women were his one true passion, but far from respecting them, he tried to use them as much as he could. He used them up like tissues and discarded them the same. He didn’t know how to maintain such a trivial, intricate relationship. Sex was easier for him, because it was a simple answer to a simple desire. Love and affection were far too complicated.

The last time I saw Wild Bill, proud Ogre of the Nether Regions, he wasn’t the same. Life caught up to him in its brutal fashion. It put him through hell. He’d been dealing with several rounds of chemo after an emergency visit to the hospital. He could’ve died right then, but his body was still strong in ways that most of us can’t imagine. He fought tumors and kidney failure, all to return to this life. Something changed in him. We talked for a while outside of one of the fine local establishments. A friend of his was being told to leave, because he came to the store without wearing a shirt. Wild Bill pulled the shirt right off his back and tossed it to him. The friend laughed and told him not to worry about it. Wild Bill had this grin, somber, silent… humble. It’s something of an evolutionary masterpiece. Amidst the anger of his youth, fighting to validate himself in this awful, wretched existence, his spirit found a way to manifest humility and kindness.

He’s an old man now. Humility’s what you have to look forward to after just a few decades on this earth. Humility is ugly and necessary. It’s the ability to beg, “Dear God, give me this one moment to go back and fix everything” and then knowing that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean your prayers weren’t answered. You’ll never go back in time. You’re stuck here with us mortals in the present. It’s a beautiful thing. I like to think Wild Bill learned that, even if it came to him as the harshest lesson possible. Humility: he wouldn’t take anything for granted.

Fallujah of Upstate NY

In a small town it’s easy to feel like a king. You feel like you can take on the world. It’s when you leave it behind that you feel weak. You feel like a rat in a maze. You wait for the world to come crashing down on you. You feel the need to retreat and wish to hide in the place you’ve known all your life. When you return, maybe you feel like you hate this place, but you’re the king. You can’t leave this behind. This place blesses you with a god-like power. Who could ignore such a gift?

If you’re born in a small-town, you’re untouchable. Rest assured, it’s not unbreakable. It’s ‘untouchable’. No one can mess with you, except for the people you’ve known all your life. It’s this ‘us against the world’ mentality that makes people in a small town so close. Despite the torment we might subject on one another, no one enters this place and messes with one of our own.

Along the same thought, no one tells us how to live. We’re left alone, because outsiders have no right to tell us how to handle our issues. Even so, it’s not really worth it for them to get involved. It would just create a greater mess. Imagine you see a busted bee hive laying on the ground, with its insides torn out for the world to see. Your first thought is never to fix it. You think in preservation: stay away! No matter what, you keep your distance. Those bees are learning how to function in a broken world. This is all they know. They’ve grown accustomed to the new ins and outs of their hive and no one in the world can tell them something different.

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say you drop your keys in the middle of that mess. Do you dare take back your keys? If you do, run like hell.

You don’t stick your hand into a bee hive, because we have something so special that we fight for… everything we’ve ever known. We know nothing beyond this ancestral wisdom, so to us, it means that much more. If the world comes crashing down on us, it would be easy enough to erase our existence, but none of that matters. The point is, we have no other alternative but to fight. I call it ‘Fallujah of Upstate New York’, although I’ve never been to Fallujah. It just makes me think of an ancient, patriarchal society. I think of one old man kept in charge by culture and tradition, who the others gather around, sworn to protect. They protect him, because that’s all they know. They gather by the fire at night, circling around him, as he tells stories of times past, legends of their people, solidifying their faith and bondage. They’re bound to each other. It’s something so pure it has to be diluted. It takes us back to the time when men were wolves and we hunted in packs. The more things change the more they stay the same.

One of the unmeasured consequences of the fundamentalism that’s spread throughout the Middle East is the desecration and imminent destruction of ancient cultures. The patriarchy is under attack. ISIS wiped out Palmyra. The old ways are gone. There’s no more reflecting on the days of old. The families have been destroyed; the women, wives and daughters have been sold into sexual servitude, while the men are killed. Humanity is more atavistic than our ‘high-culture’ and philosophies make us appear. Hernando Cortes erased the Aztecs with such precision historians didn’t find a trace of their culture for centuries.

It’s like if a new male lion walks onto the Sahara. If he wins, he has to kill the fathers, uncles, sons. He has to impregnate the women. He has to piss everywhere and leave his deplorable stink.

I can’t compare my city to a beehive, although it is fitting. I also can’t justifiably compare it to Fallujah, since I’ve never been. By simple juxtaposition, I picture some ancestral patriarchy, with the ‘pack-leader’ or eldest male at the head of the tribe. He governs and teaches and everyone obeys. Everyone has a role in this system, although beneath him; they function and belong and nothing changes. Nothing ever changes. It’s a god-like power. Maybe there’s not a man in the world that deserves it. We’re  confined to an area the equivalent of a sardine can. We keep it to ourselves, because it’s all we have. No doubt, one of the neighboring cities will invade, not unlike ISIS in Palmyra, and then crush us like bugs. We haven’t the numbers to defeat them. It’s only a matter of time before this great protective bubble around us pops. ISIS is coming from Upstate New York and they want to erase our culture.